Quick Summary

Cedar Lake Christian Assembly came to us looking to replace their outdated site and old branding, and we worked with them to develop a new online identity and implement an easy-to-administer content management system.

The Backstory

Cedar Lake Christian Assembly had recently gone through a renaming (from Cedar Lake Church), and they didn’t even have a logo that showed the new name yet. Through a friend of Craft+Story, Kristy from Cedar Lake called us to help them get a new logo, update their online brand, and replace their outdated site. I knew they hadn’t really worked with an out-of-state agency this intensely before, but they trusted the work we had done for other churchs and ministries — many outside of Texas.

The Problem

Like I said, they had already started the process of renaming, and they really needed a whole new identity to match their new goals:

During the initial discovery phase, we also decided to break out the projects (and our measure of success) across three separate target audiences:

Our Solution

An Updated Brand

We partnered with Drew Rodgers to do the logo and print material, and he obviously did amazing work directly with Cedar Lake to help them craft a more modern, dynamic feel.

For the online brand, we worked on a system of typography, colors, and graphic elements to give a simple, clean, and updated look that could both look younger and work with graphics from all the different ministries (even if their graphics weren’t updated). To keep Kristy and the whole team in Biloxi in the loop while we were iterating 600 miles away, I shared our creative direction through “style tiles” abstractly showing all the elements without a full mockup.

New Responsive Website

We knew, based on our early research, that mobile access was becoming a bigger deal for Cedar Lake (like all websites), so we pushed for a “responsive” layout that would adapt for different device sizes from the very beginning. Along with responding to devices better, our responsive implementation provided a faster-loading, quicker website that could be used from anywhere in the world by remote members, even those with slower connections.

Homepage Screenshots

New Content Management System

Their old website was outdated partially because of its design (which was older) and partially because nobody on staff was tasked with knowing HTML and CSS (which makes sense in a smaller church). To prevent that from ever being an issue again, we built everything around the TYPO3 CMS. Of course, I know that the default TYPO3 doesn’t replace the need for HTML or CSS knowledge, so we built a series of tailored content elements and a complete design system (with multiple page layouts and content element versions) inside TYPO3. Once we had the “bones” in place, we trained them remotely on everything they needed to know, and they started adding content while were finished up the smaller pieces and final testing.

From TX to MS

Kristy was surprised how well we all managed to work together with 600 miles between us, but that wasn’t something that just came naturally. After working with clients from New York to Washington and California, we had picked up a few tricks. We used Basecamp, Dropbox, and constant communication to keep everything moving and let everyone see where we were in the process. Our project management background came in handy:

“[Craft+Story] did an excellent job of keeping the project on track and finishing on time. With my busy schedule and web not really something I regularly handle, I know without [them] keeping me on task and reminding me of where we were in the process and when I needed to be finished with certain things, we probably would still be working on it!” - Kristy W., Cedar Lake Christian Assembly

The Outcome

Immediately after launch, we heard great things from Cedar Lake and we could see more people getting involved through Church Community Builder (conveniently integrated into the site). Their online viewing, now much easier to access, went up, and we’ve watched their traffic grow consistently since launching on our servers.

“Working with [Craft+Story] was a great experience and we were very pleased with the process and the final product. I would definitely recommend [their] services to someone else looking to build their site or update their current one.” - Kristy W., Cedar Lake Christian Assembly

The Wrap-up

This wasn’t our most ambitious project by any means, but the results were very tangible. We were able to help a great, small church improve their online presence, and they’ve been able to maintain and improve it without a web team (or even a dedicated admin). That was what they needed, and I’m just glad we were able help.

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